Dec 23, 2009

Happy New Year 

Dec 18, 2009

"The status quo is persistent and resistant. It exists because everyone wants it to. Everyone believes that what they've got is probably better than the risk and fear that comes with change."
                                            From Tribes by Seth Godin

Dec 9, 2009

The Pen of the Future?

Just when I thought I was getting caught up with technology, along comes another innovation that I didn't even dream existed. I just became aware of the "Smart Pen" from Livescribe. The Smart Pen is actually a computer in a pen, complete with a video camera and microphone. That may not sound like a big deal, but the function of the Smart Pen differs dramatically from your laptop, Blackberry, or GPS device. Essentially, the Smart Pen gives connectivity to paper and pen. The pen is able to link what you write directly to your computer. You can take class notes with the pen, and later re-listen to the professor's actual words by simply touching that part of your notes with the pen. You can write in English and get a voice translation into another language. Or you can send an email by writing on a sheet of paper.

One downside is that the pen requires "smart paper," a paper pre-printed with microdots that allow the pen to "read" the image. However, the use of pre-printed paper does not appear to be a major obstacle to use of the Smart Pen. People are already using paper pre-printed with lines or grids, so the use of writing pads with micro-dots is not really a big change.

This technology links the paper world with the digital world. The potential applications go well beyond academia. Imagine seeing an ad in a magazine for a product you might want to buy. Putting the pen to the ad produces a verbal message of where you can buy that item and how much it costs. You can then make the purchase by writing "buy item" and signing your signature. Or imagine if your doctor could write your prescription and email it to your pharmacy at the same time. No doubt there are many more applications that haven't even been thought of yet. Perhaps this application of technology to the ordinary routines of daily life will bring about the biggest changes in the future.

Dec 3, 2009

Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center Celebrates 10 Years

December 11 will mark the 10 year aniversary of the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center. What makes the center truly remarkable is that it was a cooperative effort between two neighboring cities to build one recreation facility serving both communities. It is a unique project in the State of California. In addition to the two cities, the project received support from the County of Los Angeles, and the State, as well as significant funding from private donations. The Bank of America (Countrywide), deputies from the Lost Hills Sheriff station and hundreds of local residents contributed to the final project.

What is worth noting here is the recognition on the part of political and community leaders that the residents of the Conejo/Las Virgenes region should not be deprived of services because of political boundaries. In ten years, the Center has not become a political issue. The two cities created a joint powers board, made up of members from both cities, that oversees the facility. It has done a remarkable job of serving the greater region. Both cities can be proud of this record of cooperation.